Great Towns have Great Squares

You Have till Next Wednesday

Go and see King’s Square while you can. Walk around it now that the 5841 tons of concrete making up the former administration building have been unsustainably taken down.

Imagine, for probably the last time ever, what King’s Square and its Regency planning from 1833 could finally look like without a huge building there.

But, next Wednesday night, behind closed doors, Fremantle Council’s audit committee will meet to discuss the final shape and cost of the intended new Administration Building, at one time called  ‘Cultural Centre.’

Just over a year ago councillors were asked would they like to save over $20 million and walk away from the large Kerry Hill design. They said no.

The original cost was projected at $47.7 million, and soon climbed to $52 million.

The increasingly cash strapped council is now trying to reduce the building cost to less than $44 million, so they can afford it (and that doesn’t cover the fit out).

Council’s partner, Sirona, who just flicked the ratepayer’s Spicer Site, which they were supposed to develop, to Twiggy Forrest, have just flicked the management of the Administration Building to another company to oversee! More money to Sirona for doing nothing.

Council have not signed the contract to build this building and they do not even know yet if it will have the speculative top floor or not. The top floor will certainly detract from the view of the Town Hall, as former City of Fremantle heritage architect Agnieshka Kiera pointed out.

A posiitve, progressive, sustainable council who cared for the future and appreciated the magic of a true town square for the long term future, would:

a) Save massive future rate rises by putting the council office workers and library elsewhere.

b) Appreciate what the experts have said and what the Fremantle Society has lobbied for for years and give Fremantle the true open space it needs at its heart. Great towns have great squares.

Or, at least defer this project until it is clear that the redeveloped Myer and Queensgate will be filled.

Look at the few council investment property assets that are left. At one time council owned $87.7 million worth of income producing real estate. By building a new $44 million admin building with money it doesn’t have, it will soon have to sell off much of the following:

a) Depot site

b) Car park at Leisure Centre

c) Victoria Hall

d) Car park Josephson and High Streets

and heritage treasures like Union Stores High Street, Furniture Factory Henry Street and Evan Davies Building (Dome) South Terrace.

And of course council may even sell their new administration building.

The $87.7 million of income producing assets will be nothing but a memory, never to be seen again.

You have till next Wednesday to talk with your councillor.


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